Major Causes of Depression (I)
Can Anyone Heal from Depression?
Lack of Healthy Boundaries
Life without boundaries results in frustration and excessive stress. Life is far more pleasant when we have limits both for ourselves and others. While we cannot control others, the boundaries we place on others give us a freedom from the erratic behavior of others when they try to harm us. When we have limits on ourselves we avoid harming others as well.
A boundary properly set has a consequence to go with it. So let’s take a look at some examples. I have a personal boundary for myself in which I must not enter a woman’s home, married or not, while there is not another man there. This avoids me damaging my relationship with my wife. If some kind of adultery were to happen in that home, the consequence would be that I would have to tell my wife about it. I can say with certainty that my wife would leave me.
The other two boundaries I set on myself are as follows: I must not enable the poor behavior of another, because doing so draws me into that person’s poor behavior as though I do that thing myself. I must also limit my obligations by saying “no” when my agenda is already full, because it keeps me from burning out or becoming responsible for things that have lower priority than other responsibilities.
There are four main types of boundaries: physical; material, emotional and mental.
We need to set our minds on where the limits of our physical space are such that when someone crosses them, we can set the boundaries and set the expectation for the consequences of violations. The definition of physical space is the space around us as we walk outside or the spaces where we live or work.
We need to observe that unwritten boundary rule that we look where we are going and avoid bumping into others or invade others’ space. We also need to be ready to set a boundary if we need to. We also need to observe that visiting a work colleague’s office during lunch time when no one is there is probably a bad idea. Conversely, we should be able to expect the same of our fellows. But others may need us to set a boundary.
Material boundaries are mostly about observing God’s commandment not to steal. (Exodus 20:15) We should not steal from organizations or others; nor should they steal from us. Thus the boundaries in this area have more to do with other things that happen to our personal property. For example, if I lend someone a book or a tool, I expect to get it back in working order. I don’t expect ripped pages in the book, and I expect to be able to use the tool as I did before.
read also: can i get free from addiction?
Of course, people should not be taking things from others without asking permission or damaging them when borrowed. The question for all of us is what is the consequence of violation? Will we remain friends? For me the answer is yes. However, I might not be so generous about lending things to that friend again. Filtered through two greatest commands to love each other, I forgive, but I will not forget attempts to burn bridges.
I do also put limits on myself where shopping is concerned to protect my finances.
It probably goes without saying that we should not provoke others to anger, as this would mean disobeying my Jesus’ commandment to love others as ourselves. I might add that provoking the anger of strangers we meet is like dousing ourselves with gasoline and lighting a match.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we should never be angry. There are times when we should be angry. For example, if someone violated one of my boundaries, I should be angry. Otherwise, I would have no incentive to enforce the consequence. Anger is normal when boundaries are violated. However, we still need to react calmly and with love.
I suspect that many people might question whether mental abuse and emotional abuse are the same thing. I would agree that they are similar, so let’s look at the difference.
Telling someone emphatically that the weather is great today and the sky is blue all day while the other person is next to us all day when in fact it is overcast is mental abuse. On the other hand, intentionally breaking someone’s boundary just to provoke anger is emotional abuse.
Please read All about Jesus – Dealing with Unforgiveness
This is part of the series: Can Anyone Heal From Depression?
Gaining Freedom from Depression
by Stephen D. Edwards
Published by Stephen D. Edwards